Key Takeaways

  • PCBs are not banned globally.
  • Some countries have restrictions on the use of certain types of PCBs.
  • PCBs can be used safely if proper precautions are taken.

Are PCBs Banned?

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are a class of organic compounds that were once widely used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. However, due to their persistence in the environment and their potential to cause adverse health effects, PCBs have been banned or restricted in many countries.

Global Ban on PCBs

In 2001, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was adopted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This treaty requires parties to the convention to take measures to eliminate or restrict the production, use, and release of POPs, including PCBs.

As of 2023, 189 countries have ratified the Stockholm Convention. This means that the global use of PCBs is now severely restricted. However, some countries still allow the use of certain types of PCBs in closed systems or for specific purposes.

Country-Specific Restrictions on PCBs

Even in countries that have ratified the Stockholm Convention, there may be additional restrictions on the use of PCBs. For example, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned the manufacture, import, export, and distribution of PCBs for most purposes. However, the EPA does allow the use of PCBs in certain applications, such as in electrical transformers and capacitors.

Safe Use of PCBs

PCBs can be used safely if proper precautions are taken. These precautions include:

  • Using PCBs only in closed systems.
  • Properly disposing of PCBs when they are no longer needed.
  • Taking precautions to prevent PCBs from entering the environment.


PCBs are not banned globally, but their use is severely restricted. If PCBs are used safely and properly disposed of, they can be used without posing a significant risk to human health or the environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *